11 best lidos and outdoor swimming pools in London

Wild swimming is all the rage in the city. Cool off with a swim in one of London's outdoor pools or lidos.
People swim in the lido at Hampstead Heath with a view of the park in the background
Dive into the refreshing waters at Hampstead Heath Lido. Credit: Shutterstock. Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

On a hot summer day, London is a fantastic city for outdoor swimming. Take a refreshing dip in one of the city's outdoor swimming pools or lidos while enjoying some time spent outdoors in London. And, even if the weather isn't so great, some of the pools and lidos are heated for use on cooler days.

London's outdoor swimming pools and lidos

1. Parliament Hill Lido

Head to Hampstead Heath and visit the historic Grade II-listed Parliament Hill Lido. Get into the water at this 60-metre (200ft) open-air pool. The pool is not heated, but facilities include a sauna and warm showers. Year-round

2. Hyde Park's Serpentine Lido

People in their swimming costumes about to jump into the water during The Christmas Day Peter Pan Cup in Hyde Park.

Go for a dip in Hyde Park's Serpentine Lido, which is home to The Serpentine Swimming Club known for its Peter Pan Cup swim on Christmas Day). Come summer, you don't need to be a member, so don your swimwear for a few lengths before refueling at the Lido Café and Bar. Open 1 June to early September (plus weekends and bank holidays in May)

3. Brockwell Lido

Marvel at the art-deco features of Brockwell Lido, including its clock and Grade II-listed pavilion buildings. This south London outdoor pool opened in 1937 and boasts a sunbathing area, cafe, sauna and gym in a quiet corner of Brockwell Park. Year-round

4. Tooting Bec Lido

Looking across the pool at the colourful yellow, green and red doors of Tooting Bec Lido.

Make a splash at Tooting Bec Lido, the oldest purpose-built open-air pool in London. At 90m (295ft) in length, this pool in Tooting is among the largest of its kind in Europe. Bring kids to the children's paddling zone or relax in the cafe. April to September

5. Charlton Lido

Head to south-east London for the 50-metre-long (164ft) Charlton Lido. Part of a large complex that also includes a gym and fitness studio, this Olympic-sized outdoor pool is heated to 25C (77F), making winter swims a treat. Year-round

6. London Fields Lido

Enjoy a toasty swim at London Fields Lido, an outdoor pool maintained at a comfortable 25C (77F). This 50m (164ft) heated outdoor lido in London opened in 1932. Sunbathe on the terrace and grab a snack at the cafe after a swim. Year-round

7. Oasis Sports Centre

Take on a few lengths in the 27.5-metre-long (90ft) pool at Oasis Sports Centre the only public heated outdoor swimming pool in central London. Surrounded by a sunbathing deck and patio, this tranquil haven hidden in Covent Garden also has a sauna and smaller indoor pool. Year-round

8. Hampton Pool

Relax at Hampton Pool, set in woodlands on the outskirts of Bushy Park. This 36-metre-long (118ft) tiled pool is warmed to 28C (82F), and its 12.5m-long (41ft) shallow pool is one of the best swimming pools in London for learner swimmers. Soak up the sun on a grassy area next to the pool between swims. Year-round

Wild swimming in London

9. Hampstead Heath Bathing Ponds

People standing on a dock at Hampstead Mixed Pond on a sunny day in London.

Go for a swim in the three wildly beautiful bathing ponds at Hampstead Heath. Picturesque greenery surrounds the Kenwood Ladies' Pond, the Highgate Men's Pond and the Hampstead Mixed Pond, and ducks often float in the water with swimmers. These natural ponds are deep and remain quite cold all year. Year-round; Mixed Pond late March to October

10. West Reservoir

Jump into the waters of the West Reservoir in Hackney. Swim around the tucked-away 9.3-hectare (23-acre) lake and bring a wetsuit for a chilly winter dip. Year-round

11. Beckenham Place Park

Three people swimming in the water at Beckenham Place Park in London on a sunny day.

Hop in the water at London's first purpose-built swimming lake at Beckenham Place Park. Book a one-hour slot to swim or learn how to handle cold winter waters during an induction session. Year-round

What is the difference between a lido and a swimming pool?

A swimming pool can be located indoors or outdoors, while a lido is always found outdoors. A lido, like many of those on the list here, often has additional space for sunbathing, changing and grabbing a snack.

While you're out and about, visit one of London's best parks, sunny beer gardens or picnic spots.